Seeing is believing, and the blinkers were finally removed from a nation in Bloemfontein on Sunday. For while the match officials obviously missed what should have been England’s equalising goal, there was no overlooking the reality that they were completely outclassed by a German team who exposed much more than Sepp Blatter’s blindspot.
Even the BBC abandoned all pretence and called it straight. Beforehand Alan Shearer had declared that England needed to keep improving as the tournament progressed (future tense) if they wanted to win the World Cup, and was confident they would overcome Germany on account of having “the better players.” Really? You could have fooled us, who knew that Glenn Johnson wasn’t fit to lace Philipp Lahm’s boots for starters.
By half-time he was admitting they should have been four or five down ever before Frank Lampard fell victim to some 44-year-old karma. Afterwards, all controversy notwithstanding, there was no attempt to gloss over the evidence that England were beaten by by far the “better” team, and that overall, their performances in South Africa had been dire.
Indeed, the Beeb boys’ critique could scarcely have been more damning as presenter Gary Lineker joined Shearer, Hansen, Lee Dixon and Harry Redknapp in describing England’s efforts variously as “hopeless”, “a shambles”, “dreadful” and any number of apt pejoratives in between.
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